Monday 26 March 2012

Hey Stoopid

I am an idiot, a stupid blithering idiot who never ever learns from his mistakes.

Why am I being so hard on myself?

I’ve just been away for a few days to visit friends in Abu Dhabi, the friends who owned Liquorice, our hellcat, before we did. And before you ask, the hellcat is, for once, not the subject of this post. I’ll tell you about the trip in a future post, but for now I have to focus on one particular aspect of it that highlights how stupid I am.

Before the trip, Mrs PM asked me a question.

“Do you want to go to up the Burj Khalifa?”

“The what?” I asked.

“The Burj Khalifa – the world’s biggest building. You know, the one that Tom Cruise climbs in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.”

Regular readers will know where this is going. For new readers, you need to know a fact about me; I am scared of heights. In fact, I am so scared that I can’t even look up at a tall building without suffering a bout of knee-trembling dizziness, sheer panic and breathless nausea; a sort of inverse vertigo, if you like.

In 2005, Mrs PM persuaded me to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I should never have done that. I am an idiot. Here is proof:

Mrs PM thoroughly enjoyed herself and the look of serenity on her face is genuine, whereas for me the calm look of serenity on my face is masking a turbulent, heart-wrenching, gut-tearing panic.

When I thought about the bridge climb, I considered the prospect of the Burj Khalifa.

“No way,” I said.

“You’ll be inside,” she said. “There’s no way you will fall.”

My answer was “NO” and it stayed “NO”.

That was, until I considered it. And that’s why I am an idiot. I persuaded myself this time. This is how my thought processes ticked over:

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You’ve climbed the Eiffel Tower, the CN Tower, the Empire State Building and you have survived. The Burj Khalifa is a masterpiece of architecture – a modern wonder of the world. You will be safely screened behind glass and you cannot possibly fall. You will not be outside. You will not die. The views will be spectacular. And besides, you will be accompanied by Mrs PM and Sarah, another friend. What could possibly go wrong?

Before I go on let me tell you about the Burj Khalifa.

It is the tallest building in the world and also the tallest free standing structure. It is over 820 metres tall – that’s over four fifths of a kilometre.

In a moment of madness (and I am very prone to such impulsive bouts of insane stupidity), I said “Yes” – and Mrs PM booked it online.

And now to the trip.

As we approached Dubai in the car, I peered out of the window searching for the skyline. I spotted a couple of tall buildings and thought “That’s not too bad”.

And then I saw it. It looked small at first but as we approached, it seemed to grow, like a mad grizzly hulk raising itself to full height. Adam, our friend who was driving said:

“There’s the Burj Khalifa”.

“It’s not so big,” I said.

“It bloody well is,” he replied. “We’re still miles away from it.”

As the building seemed to rise out of the ground, I shrank into a little ball.

Was it too late to back out? Of course it was. My ego, a little voice screaming out in a crowd of utter chaos, cried:


Captain Paranoia said:

“Did you know the building moves in the wind? It will blow over and take you with it.”

Our hosts, Adam and Abbi, opted to wait for us in the adjoining shopping mall because they were climbing the Burj Khalifa at a later date, while Mrs PM, Sarah and I found our way to the “Climb to the Top of the World”.

The very phrase made my legs tremble.

“Are you OK?” asked Mrs PM.

“Yes,” I lied, allowing my ego to lie on my behalf.

“So did Tom Cruise really hang off this building with just wires?” asked Sarah making casual conversation as we queued up for the lift.

“Yes,” said Mrs PM. “He did all of his own stunts.”

I watched Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol in the cinema and remember one thing about the section of the film in Dubai – watching Tom Cruise on a big screen and feeling vertigo, watching him throw himself about at insane heights.

We entered the lift and as it set off at high speed, I began to feel my ears pop. Accompanying this disconcerting feeling, the count of the floors raced upwards so fast that it had reached 124 before I could blink. The fast lift was accompanied by the deafening soundtrack of a rocket taking off.

“How many floors does it have?” asked Sarah.

“160,” replied Mrs PM.

“So we’re not at the top then,” said Mrs PM.

That was a relief.

And then the doors opened. And although we were inside protected from the outside by huge panes of glass, I saw a sight that made my legs almost cave in:

A revolving door leading OUTSIDE to an OBSERVATION DECK.


I blindly followed Mrs PM and Sarah through the door and felt the wind, unimpeded by any other tall buildings, blowing a gale. There was glass protecting us from the very outside but when I looked up, all I saw the rest of the building - and it looked like another skyscraper! I was suddenly caught between a serious bout of vertigo and inverse vertigo. You might think that they cancelled each other out - they didn't.

Instead, my poor brain reeled in total confusion and disorientation.

That was it. My knees buckled, my heart lurched, a massive dizzy spell slapped me in the face and I stammered an apology to the girls as I lurched back towards the revolving door.

“I’m going inside,” I almost screamed.

I watched as Mrs PM and Sarah went right up to the glass and peered out, marvelling at the cityscape below.

I very nearly shat myself.

I managed to stand inside some six feet from the window and enjoy the view with trembling legs.

I slowly walked around the inside observation deck and my thoughts went back to Tom Cruise and his fearlessness. And if you doubted his fearlessness – here he is right at the very top of the building.

Back inside, Mrs PM spotted an ATM machine for gold. Such is the opulence in the United Arab Emirates that it is possible to buy gold from an ATM. Mrs PM thought it would be a good idea for me to pretend to be buying some as it might make a good photo.

Sadly, the gold machine was a little too close to the window, so with my heart in my mouth I posed for her again.

Here is the photo.

 That was the second attempt. Here is the first, which gives you some indication how terrified I was as I yelled “JUST HURRY UP AND TAKE THE BLOODY THING!”

Thankfully, I lived to tell the tale and can now add the Burj Khalifa to the many huge structures I have stupidly climbed.

Here’s a photo of where I would prefer to be in relation to the building – at the bloody bottom!

I was actually scared of being in this photo too because inverse vertigo had kicked in. Here is the building in its pure, unadulterated and terrifying glory.

So dear reader, there you have it. I am stupid.

And I just want to make a statement, for myself, for Mrs PM, for Captain Paranoia and my idiotic ego.

If anybody, anywhere builds anything taller than the Burj Khalifa – I AM NOT CLIMBING THE BLOODY THING!!!!

Friday 16 March 2012

Golf Is Rubbish

It’s official – golf is rubbish!

I apologise to any Scottish people who may be reading or any sad individuals who love to watch or play this so-called sport, but that’s the way I feel.

I’ve always wondered what the point of golf is and in order to educate myself I’ve done some research.

My conclusion?

Golf is DEFINITELY rubbish.

First of all, golf is described as “sport”. But it isn’t really a sport, is it? If you describe the act of walking around a golf course with a bag full of bats, occasionally whacking a little white ball in the general direction of a little hole in the middle of a mown area of grass, anything other than utter tedium then you are quite frankly delusional.

So what is golf? What do you need to be a golfer? What qualities should you have to be able to endure watching or playing this monotonous, mind-numbing, dreary and pointless activity?

Here are some things that golfers need to know:

An expensive set of golf bats

Golf bats (or “clubs” as golfers call them) are just metal sticks with a lump at the end that is needed to hit the ball. These bats come in different forms:

A wood – a bat with a wooden stump for whacking the ball a long distance.

An iron – a bat for hitting the ball smaller distances.

A hybrid – an abomination produced by the union of a wood bat and an iron bat – for Libran and other indecisive golfers.

A wedge – a bat to hit the ball short distances from sand for example (a sandwich or is that "sand wedge"?).

A putter – a bat to hit the ball into the hole – “put” the ball in the hole if you like.

Golf bats cost a bloody fortune and they usually come in a big heavy bag. It might be good exercise to carry such a bag around a golf course – but golfers, being lazy old men, usually employ what’s known as a caddy (or “slave”) to carry them round for them.

Stupid clothes

People who like golf have no dress sense whatsoever. These men and women wear the most ridiculous trousers – presumably so that other golfers can aim at them on the golf course.

Golf balls

Golf balls are tiny and difficult to hit. When you hit them up towards the sky you can no longer see them. Neither can TV cameras. All of a sudden you see a golfer swing his bat and the next then, spectators (and the golfers themselves) are searching the clouds for any trace of their ball. And then, when the ball lands (amongst other lost golf balls) the golfer can claim that the one nearest the hole is his, even though in reality, the one he hit is probably stuck in a tree or has landed in the middle of a lake that is conveniently located in the middle of the fairway.

All golfers are therefore cheats.

Lots of money

Golfers are usually businessmen who like to grease each other’s palms and give each other funny handshakes while strolling around batting balls into little holes and cheating. To become a member of a golf club you need to wait for approximately one year on average and then pay a fortune to stay there.

Knowledge of weird words

Golf terms are funny. Here are some I discovered, with translations:

Par – apparently each hole has a an average number of shots taken to bat the ball into the little hole. This is called the par – for example – this is a par three hole.

Fore – when aiming at the other golfers, you are supposed to shout “FORE!” to them to warn them that you have batted the ball in their general direction. I think you are supposed to do this before the ball actually hits them.

Bogey – one over par for the hole – NOT something that comes out of one nostril.

Double Bogey – two over par for the hole – NOT something that comes out of both nostrils.

Birdie – one under par for the hole – NOT a little bird.

Bunker – a conveniently located lump of sand meant to trap balls – NOT somewhere to hide.

Albatross – three under par for the hole – NOT a big bird with massive wings.

Driver – A big bat for clobbering the ball – NOT a man to drive lazy golfers around the course on those little buggy things.

Follow through – Part of the action when a golfer bats the ball – NOT an accident when farting.


Clearly some people like golf. These people have lots of patience or are excited by watching paint dry or studying grass as it grows.

Normal people think it is a waste of time. I have had to endure a golf championship in the company of Mrs PM’s dad who likes golf. I was comatose by the end of it. Some guy called Tiger Woods won it – I thought he was just a rich man who had been caught doing naughty things – I didn’t realise he was a man who spent all of his time whacking balls and being paid a fortune for it.

“What do you do for a living Mr Woods?”

“I hit little white balls in the general direction of other people on a nice patch of grassy land and then at some point put the ball into little holes. I have a big leather bag full of sticks (or “bats” if you want to use the technical term). I also wear stupid clothes and am paid enormous sums of money for it. And I get the odd birdie – but that’s another story.”

Crikey – how hard can that be? And he earns a bloody fortune.

I think I may take it up.

Actually, on second thoughts, I won’t.

There is no way that Mrs PM would let me wear those ridiculous trousers.

Saturday 10 March 2012

Room 101

George Orwell’s 1984 is one of the few novels I read at school that made me sit up and say “now that was a good read.”

I love the book – but one of the things I like best is the concept of Room 101, a room where people are subjected to their worst nightmares.

In the UK it has spawned a comedy panel show, also called Room 101, where celebrities try to convince the host (currently Frank Skinner) to dump the things they hate into the aforementioned room.

Being a grumpy old so and so I think it is time that I nominated things for Room 101; I just hope the room is big enough to accommodate everything I have planned for it.

In fact, such is the vast number of things I want to cast into an abyss that I have to do it in tiny chunks.

I will therefore pepper my normal inane posts with lists of things that simply must be locked away from humanity – for their own good.

Movie - Highlander 2 – The Quickening

I loved the film Highlander and that is the main reason why I want to hurl this garbage into Room 101. It is a sequel that makes no sense and is the worst film that Sean Connery has ever agreed to make. If you have seen and enjoyed Highlander, I implore you (for your own sanity) not to watch this film EVER! You will rant so much that you might just explode – I know I nearly did.

CelebrityPiers Morgan

Why this man is a success is beyond me. He is one of the few humans alive who I actually want to torture – preferably by subjecting him to a day in his own company. I first noticed him when he was editor of a tabloid called the Daily Mirror – an odious profession if ever there was one – and now he presents a major show in the US. How? Why? He is an enigma; he is so loathsome yet so successful. How can that be? Into Room 101 you go.

Clothing Baggy arsed jeans

Kids these days wear jeans that hang so low they may as well not bother. I was sitting down in a bar in Manchester and I turned around and my face was inches from a young git with baggy arsed jeans and “cool” designer underpants. I wanted to stand up and yell at the fool.


I couldn’t – but it would have scared him half to death.


I have posted about rhubarb before. It is the most repulsive foodstuff known to man. It tastes so bad that my stomach heaves when my brain tells me there is some in the vicinity. When rhubarb appeared on the school dinner menu as a child, I was forced to eat it – and I wanted to kill the teacher who tortured me in this way. I simply cannot begin to describe the taste – it is so awful. I hope that Piers Morgan is forced to eat it for ever in Room 101 – mind you, he’d probably like it.

Pop MusicCliff Richard

The man who gave us “Mistletoe and Wine”, “Saviours Day”, “Wired For Sound” and, the crowning turd on the compost heap, “The Millennium Prayer”. I am ashamed to say that I actually saw the so called Peter Pan of pop live in a show called Time in the late 1980’s. I went to the West End of London and watched it, not knowing that Cliff Richard was in it – and I almost wept in shame. Worse – every year, there is a calendar showing pictures of Cliff topless – AT HIS AGE!!! Get in there and start singing to Piers Morgan – mind you, he’d probably like it.

TVThe X Factor

Every bloody year – EVERY BLOODY YEAR – I have to suffer this utter tripe that is overhyped, filled with cliché and hosted by idiots. Why is it popular? All that I see is a terrible karaoke show watched over by Louis Walsh, Simon Cowell and a couple of other equally talentless judges – and at the end of it, another talentless individual is crapped out and thrust upon the world with a “guaranteed Christmas Number One” only to sink back into obscurity a year or two later. Get rid of it immediately.


Yet another creature I have ranted about. They serve no purpose whatsoever other than to sting human beings and make an absolute nuisance of themselves on a beautiful sunny summer day. They are horrible, vindictive creatures that turn human beings into jabbering wrecks.

BooksThe Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

When I was a young man at school, I was introduced to English Literature – and was forced to read this novel – and then write at least two essays about it. I hated it – and it got me into trouble several times. Our homework was to read three chapters and then discuss them in class and I simply could not bring myself to do so – it was so tedious. Invariably I was caught out when after two seconds it was clear that I hadn’t read any of it and had to spend yet another detention reading the bloody thing. I wanted to read Jules Verne, H.G.Wells and George Orwell – but no – I had to read this tripe – and then write utterly pointless essays about it. It almost killed my love of books and that is a crime I simply cannot forgive – so it has to go into Room 101 where Piers Morgan should be forced to read it over and over again. Mind you, he’d probably like it.

PoliticiansBoris Johnson

I am tempted to put ALL politicians into Room 101 but instead I will pick on just one; the Mayor of London – Boris Johnson. This man is a bumbling oaf and it amazes me that he can get dressed in the morning, let alone run the capital of England. He struggles to speak because he constantly has his foot in his mouth and has the ability to embarrass himself because of his appearance and his irritating voice. I used to think he was just a joke and now he is the mayor, who knows where he can go? There are even fools who want him to be our Prime Minister. He must go into Room 101 where he and Piers can spend eternity pissing each other off. Mind you, they probably like each other.

China Chinese Toilets

Regular readers will know that I love China but despise Chinese toilets. Many people think it is better to squat rather than sit but to be honest, that is a recipe for disaster, particularly in public Chinese toilets. I have almost thrown up several times when approaching them, particularly the worst kind – a public toilet on a building site. Thankfully I have stayed in hotels that have pristine, shining western style toilets – and I figure that if I put Chinese toilets into Room 101 then the Chinese will invest in proper loos that don’t make me throw up my breakfast. And of course the added bonus of Chinese toilets being in Room 101 would be that Piers Morgan would have to use them. Mind you, he would probably enjoy that.

And furthermore, Piers Morgan would probably enjoy living in Room 101.

What would you put in Room 101, dear reader?

Saturday 3 March 2012

How To Be A DJ

I would love to be a DJ – but in a parallel universe, where the rules and environment are completely different from what we have to endure in this universe.

Let me explain further.

It is possible to become a DJ in this universe and you can do so in the following easy steps:

(1) Learn to love the sound of your own voice. It’s bad enough having to listen to commercials on the radio, but it might be better if at the end of yet another dreadful advert, another song was played. Instead, all you get is what sounds like a buffoon talking utter crap for about ten minutes. I didn’t think it was possible to talk nonsense every day for a few hours – but it is. Here’s an example:

(2) Fake enthusiasm. DJ’s sound like the happiest people on the planet laughing raucously at even the most mundane garbage.

(3) Acquire a massive ego. A lot of DJ’s consider themselves to be the best of the best:

“Listen to me – I’m great! I may really be a fat offensive egomaniac but nobody loves me as much as I do – and since I’m great that’s all that counts. Now give me lots of money while I offend everybody.”

(4) Invent stupid phone-ins. I have never understood why people phone in to give their opinions on mundane subjects spouted forth from the mouths of DJ’s. Even DJ’s on rock radio stations do this. For example:

“We asked you to give us names of songs that sound like bodily functions. Here’s Frank Plank from Stockport. Hi Frank – what have you got for us?”

“Hi Dave – I’ve got three.”

“Three? This should be good. Come on Frank.”

“First – WEE are the Champions by Queen”.

“HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! Nice one Frank! And the next?”

“Next – Fart for Fart’s Sake by 10cc”

“HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! Even better Frank – he said FART! Did you hear that listeners? You are so funny, Frank.”

“Last – Poo are you? by (wait for it) - THE POO!!!”


(5) Sell your soul to the music industry. Most people have a broad spectrum when it comes to musical taste but radio stations tend not to allow us to explore available music. A DJ in this country is restricted by the playlist – a list of songs and artists that are acceptable to invisible music moguls and the radio station. How else do you explain this load of old crap?

Both the song and the video are just WRONG!

I would refuse to play that and face the consequences. I think I would rather pop my eyeballs with a carving knife.

You can practice becoming a DJ by getting a job as a presenter on a shopping channel. That will give you excellent preparation for talking about nothing for hours and hours:

“This biro is fantastic. Look at the sleek shape? You can even write letters with it. Can you believe that? Here – let me show you. See how the ink comes out smoothly as I write my name? You don’t have to write MY name – you can write YOUR OWN name. That’s how versatile it is. You can write any words in the Oxford English Dictionary with this biro. And even make up YOUR OWN words – like BOGGLEDYFART! See what I did there? And look at the colour of the ink. Blue. Really useful. And how much does this biro cost? £4.32. And we are GIVING it away for that price; GIVING IT AWAY. You should phone now – we only have a few left. Demand is high. And I will spend the next hour talking about how fantastic this biro is – and then I will sell more of them tomorrow. Because demand will be so high that they will go. Get this bargain now – while limited stocks last. Phone the number on the bottom of your screen to get this excellent bargain. For those of you who can’t read – the number is 12124322322383726274646. And the price? £4.32 – you are robbing me. Come on – while I’m in this mad generous mood. You know it makes sense …”

And on and on and on and on and on it goes.

Even my local rock radio station winds me up. When it started, the claim was “No boy bands on our radio station.” Which may be a great claim – but once you have listened to the shows for a few weeks, you end up hearing:

The same adverts played over and over again ad nauseam.

The same inane banter between “the team” repeated over and over ad nauseam.

The same crazy phone-ins repeated over and over again ad nauseam.

When they get round to playing songs (around once every half an hour), it is the same songs I heard yesterday – and the day before – and the day before – and the month before.

I’ve decided that if I can find a way to open up a portal into an alternate universe, I will become a DJ and guarantee that I expose as much music as possible to my listeners.

Adverts will be banned.

I will not have a single phone-in.

I will minimise talking.

And I definitely will NOT play Macarena.